Who Pays Personal Injury Damages?
People often wonder: Who pays the injured person’s (the plaintiff’s) damages once their file resolves, either through settlement or after a successful personal injury trial?
It may surprise you that in almost all personal injury cases the defendant has insurance and that the insurance company pays the damages. In motor vehicle accident cases, it is the defendant’s motor vehicle insurer that becomes involved. In slip and fall or other “occupier’s liability” cases, it is the defendant’s homeowner’s insurer or commercial property insurer that becomes involved.
The individual defendant is still “named” in the lawsuit. For example, the lawsuit will be Bill Jones vs. Joe Smith, not Bill Jones vs. Joe Smith’s Big Insurance Company. However, in almost all cases, the actual defendant does not pay a cent. The insurer not only pays the damages, they also hire and instruct the defence lawyer and pay for all of the defence costs (like tens of thousands of dollars for defence doctors and private investigator surveillance).
Even if you are injured as a passenger in a car driven by a relative or loved one who causes the accident, though you would sue that relative or loved one (and they would be named on the lawsuit paperwork), the reality is that any payment will be made by their insurer.
Therefore, almost all cases are a battle between the injured plaintiff (with his lawyer) and a large, multi-million (or billion) dollar insurance company. Injured people need a legal team to stand up for their interests and fight the giant insurance companies.